11th District Congressman visits Schoolcraft
By Joe Zylka
The 11th Congressional District, including cities and townships of Livonia, Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Novi, Milford, South Lyon, West Bloomfield, Auburn Hills, Bloomfield Hills and Farmington, race is a tight one, as Republican incumbent Kerry Bentivilio runs against Republican challenger Dave Trott and Democrat Bobby McKenzie. Bentivolio lost the primary election against Trott on Aug. 5, but is now running as a write-in candidate. The general election is Nov. 4, and polls will be open to all registered voters from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Recently, Bentivolio was campaigning at Schoolcraft and sat down with The Connection to discuss campaigns, politics and more.
Schoolcraft Connection (SCC): Why did you come to Schoolcraft to campaign?
Kerry Bentivolio (KB): I have a personal connection to Schoolcraft. I thought about becoming a chef once, and Schoolcraft has a great reputation for cooking. It’s also right in the middle of my district, and although I have other colleges in my district, Schoolcraft is right smack-dab in the middle of my district.
SCC: What are some advantages of campaigning at Schoolcraft?
KB: I enjoy talking to and meeting with young students because they are the future. I was a teacher for over 15 years, and I feel a connection with young students. I also polled very well with college-aged students, so I like going to college campuses and encouraging young voters to register and vote.
SCC: What kinds of reactions are you getting from people when you tell them you are an incumbent Congressman, but also a write-in candidate?
KB: Actually, most of the people who see me and recognize me say they are planning to write my name in. Most people realize that I am not going to be a typical politician; I’m going to tell them the truth. This job is hard work, but if I have to lie to my constituents, I don’t want the job. I don’t do this job because it’s an ego trip; it’s quite the opposite, and it is a pain in the ass. I do this job because it is a service to my country.
SCC: After winning the prestigious Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, why did you send it back?
KB: I went down to Central America and realized that the Amnesty Bill would not be good for our economy. If you come to this country, come here legally. The Chamber of Commerce supports amnesty, so I simply sent the award back to them.
SCC: What is the daily life of a Congressman like?
KB: This is one college students will understand. Imagine finals week being every week. It’s like riding a roller coaster, watching a John Wayne movie and taking your final exam all at the same time. Experts on the issue who wanted quick and swift resolutions would brief me on five to six different issues every day, and wanted me to be an expert on the issue. Now, obviously I couldn’t be, so I have to quickly learn the issue and figure out a way to resolve it.
SCC: What will you do the same or differently if reelected?
KB: My question is, what did I do wrong? You know what I did wrong; I didn’t join their [the Republicans in Congress] club. I’m not an establishment Republican. I served my country in Vietnam and Iraq, and they [opponents] say I didn’t pay my dues. I am not running for Congress because being a Congressman is an item on my bucket list. I’m running because I want to continue to serve my country.
For more information regarding Kerry Bentivolio, go to http://bentivolio.house.gov.